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Chris Pollock

Chris Pollock - web developer & ecommerce entrepreneur
undivided… my thoughts on world, family, church, business, technology and Jesus Christ (all in all)

Non-Charitable Charity – Why Giving the Government’s Way is Void of Love

It’s tax time again and for the past couple of years I’ve been struck that my method of giving is totally unrecognized by the government.  Before you mistake this as a complaint, it’s not, it’s simply an observation that I wish to bring to the attention of those that are interested in love.  It has slowly become my conviction that what the government calls “charity” is exactly self-interest in disguise.  Why self interest?  Giving to get.  If I give X to a valid 501(c)3 organization I’ll get my tax write off.  I admit that loving the way God tells us to love is full of rewards, but none of those rewards have anything to do with mammon.  Giving to get a tax write off is simply NOT charity… call it what you will, but don’t call it love. 

For more clarity I call your attention to one of the most well known passages of Scripture.  Where do we get our understanding of love?  Is it not from the story of the Samaritan?  After all, who loved their neighbor?  The one who picked up a stranger, washed his wounds (at expense to himself) and paid for his needs of recovery.  Where were the other two headed (the priest and the Levite), but off to their jobs at the governmentally-recognized institution. 

Ironically the government does not recognize “contribution to a specific individual” or “contribution to a nonqualified organization”.   The Samaritan’s expenses would not have been recognized by the government.   The irony is rich and hopefully the implications are clear.  What God desires is not for us to leverage and extra percentage or two by getting a tax write off, but rather to be open to do radical works of love to those whom won’t be recognized or “qualified” as outlets for the world’s charity.

  • Sam & April

    Amen!!

  • doug

    Hey Chris,

    Be careful man. Use Money. Trust God. Be Grateful.

    Stewardship of our life and resources is a huge responsiblity. It's not if we'll be stewards…it's what kind of stewards will we be?
    Stewardship is both circumstantial, (Samaritan example) and purposeful, (tax planning, saving for retirement or etc.) Both count. Both can, and should be done in love and with the right heart attitude understanding that none of this is ours.

    Remember the hope we have…we do this because we love God and because there is a reward waiting for us! (Heaven…or the "GETTING" part of being a true Christ follower is pretty phenomenal even though the "suffering" part can really suck!

    I for one am thrilled that I live in a country where I can give to the Lord's work (and maybe other worthwhile organizations) AND I get a tax break….WHAT A BLESSING! Recognize it for what it is…a benefit of citizenship. Don't miss that!

    I'd like to encourage you to let God judge the heart…and the intents of the heart.

    Love you bro!

  • http://housepointinspections.com kevin m.

    is it loving to hire someone, expecting to make some profit off of their labor?

    is it loving to work hard for someone, expecting to get paid?

    i certainly agree that too much of an eye for financial return is detrimental to samaritan-type service, but isn't it going to far to say that other types of service that may have a financial reward are not love?

    just a thought.

  • http://web.simplifiedbuilding.com cwpollock

    @kevin m.

    I have thought about this subject. Being an employer has definitely put me in a place to evaluate this idea.

    My answer is no. Those things are not a matter of charity.

    I think the keyword in your phrasing is "expecting". Paying someone for their labor (or being paid for labor) is a matter of justice. To withhold the wages of the workman will provoke the wrath of God. In short I am NOT FREE to not pay my workers… justice requires it. Charity is always free, and not compelled, but justice compels me to pay the labors in my field.

    I believe that business (the exchanging of goods and services) can certainly be a context for love. But the transactions of business are not charity.

    Laboring builds a credit.. employing creates a debt. Christ was no debtor to man.. and therefore became the perfect expression of love.

    I think more than anything, I"m seeing the insidiousness of incentive-based charity — that is — an incentive of a reward other than the one that God has already promised to be received by faith. What I speak, I speak not to personally sit in judgment on any one individuals 1040, but rather as a broader warning about Jesus-free alternatives to real gospel love.

  • http://www.yahoo.com/ Matilda

    Now we know who the sensblie one is here. Great post!

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Chris Pollock

Web Developer - proficient in both PHP and ASP.NET.
Rochester, New York

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Another boys discovers drawing with Rob on @artforkidshub. #elf #artforkids #threeyearoldscandrawtoo#hagelslag this is what the Dutch eat for breakfast (well some of them anyways) #dessertforbreakfastGingerbread house buildingMicah turns 11Somewhere over the Atlantic@andinic there you go. Seven days!Finally some sun! The journey home has begunNetherlands has more bikes than people.Shhhhhh. Don’t tell the kids. #christmascomeearlyDay6 @andinicNutella pizza. #iatethisEindhoven. Birthplace of PhillipsPhoto@andinic day 5@andinic day 4